The Bible and the Bhagavad Gita 42: A Hymn to the Divine

 
Sagrada_Familia_March_2015-10a

The ceiling of Sagrada Familia Cathedral, Barcelona, Spain, by Alvesgaspar, from Wikimedia Commons

 

Chapter Nine of the Bhagavad-Gita is a hymn to the divine. Listen to some of these verses by reading them out loud, and compare them to some of the poetry of the Bible. I’ll use italics for the Gita, and plain text for the Bible:

All creatures find their existence in me. …They move in me as the winds move in every direction in space. (BG 9:4 & 6)

For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said. (Acts 17:28)

I am the goal of life, the Lord and support of all. I am the only refuge, the one true friend; I am the beginning, the staying, and the end of creation. I am the womb and the eternal seed. (BG 9:18)

I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. Who is like me? Let them proclaim it, let them declare and set it forth before me… Do not fear, or be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? You are my witnesses! Is there any god besides me? There is no other rock; I know not one. (Isaiah 44:6-8)

I am heat; I give and withhold rain. I am immortality and I am death. I am what is and what is not. (BG 9:19)

The Lord kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up. The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low, he also exalts. For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and on them he has set the world. (1 Samuel 2:6-7)

I look upon all creatures equally; none are less dear to me and none more dear. But those who worship me with love live in me, and I come to life in them. (BG 9:29)

I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. (Acts 10:34-35)

There are some important differences in these passages, of course, especially when we examine them in context. But many of the metaphors and images we use for God, regardless of religion or culture, are similar. They express some intuitive truths: God is omnipresent and we “move inside” of God. God incorporates the beginning and end of creation. Life and death are part of the same process, and both belong to God. God pours out God’s love indiscriminately, and accepts those who seek God. God is both transcendent and imminent.

Prayer:
Beginning and End of All Things, root me in your life; bring me into your presence.

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